Let us continue our thoughts at this time regarding lessons from our treehouse:
2. THE EARTH IS THE WRONG STANDARD.
If you were to come over to visit us & our treehouse (which you are welcome to do, by the way!), I think you'd be impressed with it overall (unless you are a professional contractor). Those who climb up the rope ladder, experience our back yard from 13' off the ground, and bravely slide down the fireman's pole generally have a great time and are kind enough to share compliments. After it was first completed, we regularly saw people wandering into our backyard to get a closer look (some with cameras).
However, if you really study the treehouse for a while, you'd notice some things that weren't quite right. For example:
The result is a floor that is not level on one corner, which is not easily noticeable while you are in the treehouse, but it is quite noticeable from certain angles while on the ground. How could one support beam get so far out of level, Stephen? The answer: my lack of building experience coupled with limited tools/equipment and a false assumption--namely, that the earth/ground below the treehouse was level! Allow me to elaborate a bit.
The first phase of the construction plan was to get the 4 main supports mounted and leveled, connect them appropriately with 2x8s and 2x10s, and then build the treehouse floor/decking. After getting the 4 supports mounted at approximately 45 degree angles to the ground, I had to cut off the ends to be parallel to the ground so I could span them with boards and then build up. It was easy to do this on the first support, but getting the others at the same height was going to be somewhat of a guess I thought (since I didn't have a way to easily check for level across the 12' opening before cutting the supports with my sabre saw on a ladder that was too short, in truth). After I precariously got the supports cut, had I checked the level of the span boards before nailing them, I would have discovered my error, but I didn't. It looked good to my eyes so I proceeded. Plus, I had the "bright idea" after the first support to use a rope to measure the distance from the top of the support to the ground. I used that rope on the other supports to mark the proper height to cut which would result in them all being level, right? There was no need to check. It wasn't until after the floor was essentially completed that I discovered my false assumption: the ground under our treehouse was not level! Dangling a rope to the ground to measure proper height only works if the ground is level! Doh! It was a rookie mistake and I suppose a professional would have tore off the decking and fixed the unlevel support before proceeding. I continued, however, since I didn't think it was worth the trouble. It was probably the right call (since a slightly unlevel floor is just a cosmetic issue for a structure like this), although I cannot look at the treehouse now without seeing the unlevel corner immediately.
Anyway, that's a long explanation to make a very important spiritual point: for Christians, the Earth is the wrong standard. The world is "out of level" in a lot of ways! If we measure ourselves against other people, we're using the wrong standard. If we look at others and feel good about ourselves because we think we're more righteous or less wicked than them, we're using the wrong standard. "For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise" (II Cor. 10:12). It doesn't matter what the world thinks about certain behaviors and whether they are righteous or not, God's word is the standard that matters! "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Tim. 3:16,17). God's word is what we need to consult to know what is right and wrong, not what is popular with our friends or approved in society. To build a treehouse with an unlevel support (foundation) is unfortunate, but to build a life upon the wrong standard (foundation) is a tragedy (cf. Matt. 7:24-27)! The wise will set their minds on things above (cf. Col. 3:2) and look to Christ as their standard, not the world (cf. I Cor. 3:11). "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
We will conclude this topic in our next lesson.